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The real reason Land Rover have
stopped making Defenders

Land Rover Defender  

09/03/2016

Land Rover Jaguar has stopped production of the iconic Defender for financial reasons that have little to do with European emissions legislation or US safety standards.

There is still a market for defenders and some utility companies are hording them for use in the future. Emissions standards could easily met by a different engine and it would be possible to fit re-engineer the dash to fit airbags.

The problem with Defenders from Land Rover Jaguar accountant’s point of view is that they don’t generate the same profit margins as Range Rovers and Discoverys which are – let’s face it – massively overpriced vehicles.

Ironically, Range Rovers and Discoverys are able to command this added financial clout because of the ‘go anywhere’ prestige created over many years by the Series and then Defender models.

Defenders have been hand built on the same production line in Birmingham since 1948 and they mark the longest continuous production of a vehicle in the world, surpassing Hitler’s VW Beetle.

The fact that Defenders have always been hand built improves their build quality but adds to their limited profitability. There are less than 30 robots on the Defender line and more than 600 on the Range Rover line. Such investment cannot be allowed to go unused. Making vehicles using people is obviously more expensive than robots, even more so when you have already made the investment.

Everyone has memories of a Landy and we can only hope that the replacement vehicle is as versatile (or more so). Also, we must hope that it is made on the Birmingham production lines and not destined for elsewhere in Europe.

Note to Land Rover designers: fit a cab that’s big enough for a normal 6ft 5in bloke to sit in without his elbow permanently out of the window!

 

 

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